Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. That's the big news this week about Nebraska football, or at least the news relative to the actual playing of football and not the rumor mill surrounding Bo Pelini's job.
The BIG statistic - Nebraska dropped from 85th nationally in turnover margin to 110th or -8 on the season, -.80 per game.
Yet when you look at this year's season statistics, you'll see 13 fumbles lost and 10 interceptions. Of those 10 interceptions, seven belong to Tommy Armstrong Jr, two to Taylor Martinez, and one to Ron Kellogg III. Of the 13 fumbles, two belong to Jordan Westerkamp, two to Terrell Newby, and two to Armstrong. Three belong to Ameer Abdullah.
So, of Nebraska's 23 turnovers this season, 13 have been committed by freshmen.
That's still a problem, but a lot easier to take than if they were committed by experienced players. I don't have time right now to go back and see how many were committed by first-year players. Maybe later.
In case you hadn't noticed, there's a game to be played this week! Nebraska vs Penn State!
1 - Game at a time, which is how we really should take these things.
3 - The number of defensive statistic categories lead by Randy Gregory. He is first in tackles for loss with 15, sacks with 8.5, and quarterback hurries with 15.
3 - Penn State receiver Allen Robinson's national ranking in pass yardage at 120.4 yard per game. Robinson has 81 receptions for 1,204 yards this season along with six touchdowns. The next best receiver is Brandon Felder who has 27 receptions for 293 yards and three touchdowns. Clearly stopping Robinson will be key for Nebraska.
6 - Ameer Abdullah's national ranking in rushing in yards per game at 133.60. He maintained the same position, but dropped about a yard average. Still, rushing against the Sparty defense that hadn't allowed 100 yards rushing to either a team or a back all season with a banged up (decimated?) offensive line isn't so shabby. Clearly stopping Abdullah will be key for Penn State.
7 - The Huskers' national ranking in opponent third down conversions at 30.94 percent. This despite allowing Michigan State to convert 11-of-21 for a 52.3% rate.
10 - Nebraska's national ranking in number of sacks with 31. It would be the same ranking in sacks per game, which is 3.1 Penn State is 37th with 23 sacks or 2.3 per game.
10 - Nebraska's national ranking in tackles for loss with 77. Penn State is 45th with 63. You know who leads the Husker defense. Defensive tackle DaQuan Jones (11.5) and defensive end C.J. Olaniyan (10) lead the Nittany Lions in this category.
15 - Bill O' Brien is Penn State's 15th head football coach. You'd swear that number should be two.
15 - Number of times these two teams have met with Nebraska owning a 8-7 advantage.
34 - Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg's national ranking with 239.9 yards per game. By rating he drops to 65th at 128.79. For first-year starting quarterbacks who don't show up in Top 100 rankings, I like to look at TD/INT ratios. Hackenberg is 14/9. Tommy Armstrong Jr is 7/7.
42 - Nebraska's national ranking in total defense. It was 41st last week, 70th the week before that, and 78th the week before that. The Huskers are still giving up 373.5 yards a game. Obviously, you'd like to see that lower, but it's much improved over where the team started.
50 - Penn State's national ranking in total offense at 434.6 yards per game. Nebraska is 45th here (440.6). Penn State is 59th in rushing offense (179.2), while Nebraska is 16th (240.3). The Husker pass offense is 91st (200.3), while the Nittany Lions are 45th (255.4). What's all this mean? Stop Allen Robinson, win game.
68 - Total tackles by safety Corey Cooper and linebacker David Santos. Cooper has 34 solos to Santos' 36, and Santos lead in tackles for loss over Cooper is slight, 6-5. Cooper makes up for that with a sole interception this season.
82 - As in 1982!!!!! As in, this game will be THE game for me when we play Penn State. The following is from the Penn State media notes:
On September 25, 1982, the Nittany Lions defeated the No. 2 Cornhuskers, 27-24, in arguably the most exciting game in Beaver Stadium history.
Penn State grabbed leads of 14-0 and 21-7, but a one-yard TD run by quarterback Turner Gill gave the Huskers a 24-21 lead with just 1:18 to play in the game.
After the score, three Todd Blackledge completions and a six-yard run got the ball to the Nebraska 17-yard- line. Blackledge then hit tight end Mike McCloskey just inside the left sideline at the two. The standout signal- caller then rifled a low throw to tight end Kirk Bowman who cradled the catch for the winning score with just four seconds to play. Bowman had opened the scoring with a 14-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.
The teams combined for 977 yards and each side had three turnovers. Blackledge was 23 of 39 for 295 yards and three touchdowns. A then-record crowd of 85,304 was on hand in Beaver Stadium.
MIKE MCLOSKEY INSIDE THE LEFT SIDELINE????
Yes, of course, since their field at that time looked like this:
121 - The number of points scored in the first quarter this season by Nebraska. Penn State has scored 56. Both teams have scored 78 in the second quarter, with the Huskers outscoring the Nittany Lions 92-51 in the third. The fourth? Penn State leads that quarter 92-60.
107,282 - The official capacity of Beaver Stadium. The official population of State College, PA is 42,034 (2010 Census) and if you including the surrounding area of the Centre Region, the population is 104,000.
1.6M - The number of Husker fans talking about whether we're supposed to fire Bo Pelini or not. Rather sad, really, when we could be talking about this team and these players.